First Listen: Ray Charles, 'Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Vol. 1 & 2' Charles laid claim to the center of American popular music on these 1962 classics, and ended up with some of the brashest and best-selling music of his career.
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2

First Listen: Ray Charles, 'Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Vol. 1 & 2'

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First Listen: Ray Charles, 'Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Vol. 1 & 2'

Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2

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    Song
    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2 is due out Feb. 22 on Concord Music Group. Courtesy of The Ray Charles Foundation hide caption

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Courtesy of The Ray Charles Foundation

Ray Charles' Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2 is due out Feb. 22 on Concord Music Group.

Courtesy of The Ray Charles Foundation

When Ray Charles entered the studio to record Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music in 1962, the singer was already an established hitmaker. In his work for Atlantic Records between 1952 and '59, Charles created an inventive mix of blues, gospel and jazz in songs like "Mess Around," "I've Got a Woman," "Drown in My Own Tears" and the titanic crossover smash "What'd I Say." Those records are among the foundation stones of soul music. Charles used his success to sign a deal with ABC Paramount in 1960 that gave him unusually significant artistic control and financial compensation for artists at the time, especially African Americans. Among the results is Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, one of the most interesting and brash albums of its time.

Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2

The album title itself is audacious. Country music and modernity were not synonymous in the early 1960s — after the rock-and-roll explosion, country held tight to its association with tradition, which could sometimes translate as a bulwark against the fight for full citizenship for African Americans. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was released the same month whites rioted to stop integration on the University of Mississippi campus.

Charles knew his country music; he'd listened to country radio growing up in Florida, and had already recorded Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" while at Atlantic. But Modern Sounds is true to its title: It doesn't attempt to copy the originals or use "country" instruments like pedal-steel guitar or fiddles. Charles selected songs he could attack with utter mastery in big, bold, horn-driven arrangements, and his interpretations underscore the durability and power of the songs that he and producer Sid Feller chose to record. The arrangements sometimes go right for the middle of the American pop road, as in the mega-hit "I Can't Stop Loving You" or the plaintive ballad "I Love You So Much It Hurts." But the album swings like mad on Hank Williams' "Half As Much" and Jimmie Davis' "It Makes No Difference Now." Ray Charles relishes the wordplay and deep blues in these heartfelt songs, and finds the spot where country and R&B pianos meet.

This reissue packages Modern Sounds with Modern Sounds Volume 2, recorded in the fall of 1962 to take advantage of the first volume's huge success. The second set places the swing and pop arrangements on separate sides, but it's equally affecting. Charles lays claim to the center of American popular music on these records, and ended up with some of the best-selling music of his career.

Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 & 2

First Listen: Ray Charles, 'Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Vol. 1 & 2'

01Bye Bye Love

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    Song
    Bye Bye Love
    Album
    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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02You Don't Know Me

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    You Don't Know Me
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
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    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Album
Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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03Half As Much

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    Song
    Half As Much
    Album
    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Song
Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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04I Love You So Much It Hurts

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    I Love You So Much It Hurts
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Album
Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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05Just A Little Lovin' (Will Go A Long Way)

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    Just A Little Lovin' (Will Go A Long Way)
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
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Concord Records
Released
2019

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06Born To Lose

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    Born To Lose
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
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Released
2019

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07Worried Mind

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    Worried Mind
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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08It Makes No Difference

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    It Makes No Difference
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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09You Win Again

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    You Win Again
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
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Concord Records
Released
2019

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10Careless Love

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    Careless Love
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
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Concord Records
Released
2019

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11I Can't Stop Loving You

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    I Can't Stop Loving You
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
    Artist
    Ray Charles
    Label
    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
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Concord Records
Released
2019

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12Hey, Good Lookin'

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    Hey, Good Lookin'
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Concord Records
    Released
    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Concord Records
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2019

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01You Are My Sunshine

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    You Are My Sunshine
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Ray Charles
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Concord Records
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2019

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02No Letter Today

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    No Letter Today
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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2019

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03Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)

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    Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Ray Charles
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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2019

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04Don't Tell Me Your Troubles

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    Don't Tell Me Your Troubles
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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05Midnight

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    Midnight
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    Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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    Ray Charles
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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2019

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06Oh, Lonesome Me

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    Oh, Lonesome Me
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    2019

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Concord Records
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07Take These Chains From My Heart

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    Take These Chains From My Heart
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Concord Records
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2019

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08Your Cheatin' Heart

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    Your Cheatin' Heart
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Concord Records
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2019

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09I'll Never Stand In Your Way

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    I'll Never Stand In Your Way
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Ray Charles
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Concord Records
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2019

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10Making Believe

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    Making Believe
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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2019

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11Teardrops In My Heart

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    Teardrops In My Heart
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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2019

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12Hang Your Head In Shame

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    Hang Your Head In Shame
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    Concord Records
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    2019

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
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Ray Charles
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Concord Records
Released
2019

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Purchase Featured Music

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Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music Vol 1 & 2
Artist
Ray Charles
Label
Concord Records
Released
2019

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